Top 5 Wireless Headphones on the Market

HeadphonesStyleBattery LifeWater ResistantNoise CancellingPrice
Best OverallSony WH-1000xM2Over-ear20 hours$$$Buy Now
Best for Noise CancellingBose QuietComfort 35 II Over-ear20 hours$$$$Buy Now
Best for Those On-the-GoJaybird X3In-ear8 hours$$Buy Now
Best on a BudgetSkullcandy JibIn-ear6 hours$Buy Now
Best Sound QualityBowers & Wilkins P7 WirelessOver-ear17 hours$$$$Buy Now
Best Overall
HeadphonesSony WH-1000xM2
StyleOver-ear
Battery Life20 hours
Water Resistant
Noise Cancelling
Price$$$
Buy Now
Best for Noise Cancelling
HeadphonesBose QuietComfort 35 II
StyleOver-ear
Battery Life20 hours
Water Resistant
Noise Cancelling
Price$$$$
Buy Now
Best for Those On-the-Go
HeadphonesJaybird X3
StyleIn-ear
Battery Life8 hours
Water Resistant
Noise Cancelling
Price$$
Buy Now
Best on a Budget
HeadphonesSkullcandy Jib
StyleIn-ear
Battery Life6 hours
Water Resistant
Noise Cancelling
Price$
Buy Now
Best Sound Quality
HeadphonesBowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless
StyleOver-ear
Battery Life17 hours
Water Resistant
Noise Cancelling
Price$$$$
Buy Now

Data current as of 6/3/2018. Pricing and features subject to change.

Wireless headphones are great for enjoying your tunes on the go, but there are tons of models on the market and a lot of meaningless hype to sift through to make a decision worth your money. Do you really want to drop a lot of cash on flashy Beats only to have them break a few months later? Probably not.

To help you find a pair that will do what they say they will, we’ve rounded up the top picks to make your wireless headphone decision that much easier.

The Top 5 Wireless & Bluetooth Headphones

Best Overall

Specs

  • Battery Life: Up to 20 hours
  • Water Resistance: No
  • Noise Cancelling: Yes
  • Style: Over-ear
  • Connection Type: Bluetooth

 

These Bluetooth, noise-cancelling headphones from Sony are topping the lists of many tech reviewers this year—and for good reason. They’re exceptionally comfortable, they sound great, and they have excellent active noise cancelling and a long battery life. Running around $300.00, they’re a bit pricey, but we think they’re worth the investment. The Sony WH-1000xM2 really offer the complete package, which is why we’ve given them the top spot here.

Best Noise-Cancelling Wireless Headphones

Specs

  • Battery Life: Up to 20 hours
  • Water Resistance: No
  • Noise Cancelling: Yes
  • Style: Over-ear
  • Connection Type: Bluetooth, 3.5mm audio
  •  
  • The Bose QuietComfort 35 has long been the industry standard for noise-cancelling headphones, and they’re still our pick if active-noise cancelling is your top priority. The battery life is outstanding so you won’t have to worry about charging them on a long flight. The noise cancelling works wonders to cancel distractions, whether you’re on an airplane, in the office, or working from home.They also offer the convenient option of going either wired or wireless thanks to a removable 3.5mm audio jack. This can be really convenient if you’re tired of working with finicky Bluetooth connections.
Best Wireless Headphones for Those On-the-Go

Specs

  • Battery Life: Up to 8 hours
  • Water Resistance: Yes
  • Noise Cancelling: No
  • Style: In-ear
  • Connection Type: Bluetooth

 

  • Jaybird has built a reputation as the go-to earbud for sports, exercise, and outdoor use. These earbuds connect via Bluetooth and offer in-line controls to skip tracks, adjust volume, and answer phone calls. They’re also sweatproof and water-resistant, making them ideal for intense workouts. The X3s come with several sizes of foam tips and wings to get the perfect fit so once they’re in your ear, they stay put.
Best Wireless Headphones on a Budget

Specs

  • Battery Life: Up to 6 hours
  • Water Resistance: No
  • Noise Cancelling: No
  • Style: In-ear
  • Connection Type: Bluetooth

 

  •  The Skullcandy Jib in-ear headphones offer portability and decent sound quality on a budget. They have an in-line mic and controls, so you can adjust playback and take calls without grabbing your phone. If you love the flashy colors of Beats but not the price, these also come in several different colors that you can personalize to match your style. The battery life isn’t much to write home about, but the price makes it hard to complain.
Best Wireless Headphones for Sound Quality

Specs

  • Battery Life: Up to 17 hours
  • Water Resistance: No
  • Noise Cancelling: No
  • Style: Over-ear
  • Connection Type: Bluetooth

 

  •  For a more premium headphone experience, step up to the Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless. These headphones combine powerful, crystal-clear sound with a unique look and aesthetic. They’re not noise-cancelling, so they may not be the best option for travel. But if premium sound and comfort is what you’re after, these are the classy wireless headphones you’ve been looking for.

The Worst Wireless Headphones

Now that we’ve let you know which wireless headphones we love, it’s only fitting to tell you which ones we could do without. If you’re considering either of the following wireless headphones, we recommend you save yourself some frustration and steer clear.

Beats Powerbeats 3

Beats headphones are some of the most popular around, but we have a few gripes with them. For one, the sound is heavy on the bass—especially on the Powerbeats. It’s great if most of your playlist is rap or hip-hop, but generally we prefer a more balanced frequency response. We also had poor experiences with the build quality of the Powerbeats 3. For how much they cost, we expect them to hold up better than they did.

Monster iSport

Monster has been well-known in the audio industry for making high-end cables. The company’s efforts with wireless headphones have been less successful though. The iSport in-ear headphones in particular were a major letdown for us. The price was easy to swallow, but the sound quality just wasn’t there. If you’re considering getting a pair of these, don’t.

5 Things to Look Out for in Bluetooth Headphones

1. Battery Life

Why It Matters: Battery life is critical for wireless headphones. Constantly having to charge your new earbuds is going to sour the experience really quickly. Imagine your headphones cutting out in the middle of your 30-mile bike ride—not too great, huh? No one wants to be left out on the trail with a pair of dead headphones. No matter where you’ll take them, make sure your equipment is sturdy enough for the long haul.

What You Need: For over-ear headphones, a good battery life to aim for is about twenty hours, give or take. It’s enough to get through a workday and then some. There are some models out there that offer up to two days of battery life, but that’s probably overkill for most people.

With earbuds and in-ear headphones, about eight hours of battery life is a good amount. These types of headphones don’t offer the same longevity as full-size sets—there’s just not as much room to put a big battery on these. If battery is a major concern for you, full-size headphones are probably the way to go.

2. Water- and Sweat-Resistance

Why It Matters: If you’ll be using your headphones for exercise or working outdoors in the heat, you’ll want to look for a pair rated as water- or sweat-resistant. Most sports models offer this feature, and it’s a lifesaver—repeated exposure to sweat can ruin a pair of earbuds over time.

3. In-ear vs. On-ear vs. Over-ear

Why It Matters: There are three main styles of headphones to choose from. The style you choose has a big effect on overall comfort and sound quality. Some specialty features (like noise cancelling) work better with certain styles. Here’s what you can expect from each style:

  • In-ear: These are the small earphones that sit in your ear canal, often using flared or foam tips to form a seal and provide some passive noise cancellation. In-ear headphones are the most portable, but they tend to have a narrower sound. Sound quality can also suffer if they don’t fit properly, which is why they’re usually supplied with several sizes of ear tips.
  • On-ear: This type is probably the least common. They sit on top of your ear and provide relatively little isolation. These are a middle ground between the portability of in-ear and the full sound of over-ear. Unfortunately, many find them uncomfortable to wear.
  • Over-ear: Often known as “cans,” over-ear headphones cover the entire ear, providing some passive noise cancellation. The large size allows for big drivers: over-ear headphones often have a wider, fuller sound than other types of headphones. The tradeoff is they can get pretty bulky. As a general rule, the best sound quality will come from this type of headphones.

4. Active Noise Cancelling

Why It Matters: One of the major decisions you need to make when shopping for headphones is whether or not you want active noise cancelling. Active noise cancelling is when headphones produce a particular tone designed to cancel out background noise, so it sounds like you’re in an isolated environment.

For frequent travelers, active noise cancelling is an outstanding feature. It’s hard to hear audio over the roar of a plane’s engines, but noise-cancelling headphones will virtually eliminate that and all other background noise, including crying babies. The compromise is that this feature usually raises the price significantly and can also have some detrimental effects on sound quality.

5. Fit and Comfort

Why It Matters: If you’re going to wear something on your head for hours on end, you want it to be comfortable, right? It’s harder to judge without trying a pair of headphones on in person, but fortunately Amazon and many other online retailers offer generous return policies.

What You Need: Bose really knocks it out of the park with comfort, at least for over-ear headphones. The earpads are almost always incredibly soft, and the headphones themselves are light enough that it’s easy to forget you’re wearing them. In-ear headphones are pretty hit-or-miss for comfort, and really depend on your individual ear shape and whether you can get a good fit from the included tips.

If you have a hard time getting your in-ear headphones to fit properly, give Comply foam tips a try. The company produces tips for many popular models, and they’re designed to mold to your ear canal for a perfect fit.

Once you decide what’s important to you, your decision should be easy. We’re confident you’ll be happy with any of the five headphones we suggested, but there’s a lot of good stuff out there. If you have a favorite that didn’t make the list, let us know about it in the comments! We’d love to hear about it.